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COVID-19 Response


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United Way of Santa Barbara County helps our local community in times of disaster and crisis. We are working diligently with our community partners to assist those most impacted by COVID-19 through a variety of response and relief efforts outlined below. 


COVID-19 Joint Response Effort for Santa Barbara County

United Way of Santa Barbara County, the Santa Barbara Foundation, and Hutton Parker Foundation are leading a countywide collaborative with members of the Foundation Roundtable to provide relief funds for our county’s most vulnerable individuals and families, as well as the organizations assisting them, as they navigate the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. To provide individual assistance grants to individuals and families, United Way is working with Family Service Agency, whose outstanding staff have been conducting remote interviews with all applicants to verify information and needs and to provide case management services.


RESULTS (updated May 21, 2020)
  • To date, over $1.2 million has been secured to provide support for local households through Individual Assistance Grants. 
  • To date, more than 800 households (representing 2,600 individuals) have received assistance grant checks from United Way.
  • More than 1,500 households have sought financial assistance, and individual assistance grants will continue to be approved and distributed on a rolling basis as funds are available.
  • To date, 94 local nonprofit organizations have received grants totaling more than $1.3 million to help them meet immediate community needs.
  • Together, the Joint Response Effort has raised over $3 million to respond to community needs. 


COVID-19 Emergency Child Care Initiative

United Way of Santa Barbara County is working in partnership with Jane and Paul Orfalea/the Audacious Foundation and the Natalie Orfalea Foundation, with Lou Buglioli through the Emergency Child Care Initiative to provide needed child care for essential Santa Barbara County employees. Child care services are now available for up to 278 children at 4 sites in Santa Barbara (for Cottage Hospital and Sansum employees), the Lompoc Community Hospital in Lompoc, and Community Health Centers in Santa Maria. To date, this initiative has raised $685,000 to support child care services. To learn more, please CLICK HERE


COVID-19 Public Health Critical Needs Initiative

United Way of Santa Barbara County established a Critical Needs Fund (CNF) in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Health Department (PHD) and the James S. Bower Foundation to quickly deploy resources to help leaders from the Public Health Department and others reduce the rate of viral transmission and assist with the process of safely reopening Santa Barbara County’s economy. To date, this fund has raised $347,500. To learn more, please CLICK HERE. Specifically, the CNF focuses on two strategies that are among the most critical of California’s six indicators for modifying the stay-at-home order:  

  1. Isolation Capacity – the CNF helps pay for hotel rooms and social service, medical, and other support for people who are diagnosed with or are presumed to have COVID-19 and who lack a place to self-isolate/quarantine that is safe for themselves and others.
  2. Robust Contact Tracing Capacity – the CNF is funding Family Service Agency to deploy and integrate up to 30 employees into the County Public Health Department’s contact tracing program.

To further assist the safe reopening process, United Way also serves in an advisory capacity on Santa Barbara County’s Reopening In Safe Environment (RISE) Guide.




Over the coming weeks and months, our neighbors most impacted by COVID-19 will need the support and help of caring community members like you. 

  • To donate online, CLICK HERE or the donate button above. 
  • To donate by phone, call 805-965-8591. 
  • To donate by mail, send check to United Way, 320 E Gutierrez St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101; memo line: COVID-19 Response
  • United Way is helping students and parents have the resources they need to learn from home. United Way is partnering with local Family Resource Centers, the Santa Barbara Public Library, and other organizations to gather donations of school supplies to support students in their home learning environment. To date, over 250 children have received supplies and 1,000 children have received books. To learn more, please CLICK HERE.
  • United Way has organized a meal distribution volunteer opportunity for Summer 2020 at two sites: Solvang Elementary School and Canalino Elementary School in Carpinteria. Volunteers will set up, organize, and distribute pre-packaged meals every day to participants in United Way's virtual Fun in the Sun program and the surrounding community. More information about how to volunteer will be posted soon. 




  • The Ann Jackson Family Foundation
  • Audacious Foundation
  • Fund for Santa Barbara
  • The Henry E. & Lola Monroe Foundation
  • Hutton Parker Foundation
  • James S. Bower Foundation
  • Jane and Paul Orfalea
  • Mosher Foundation
  • The Natalie Orfalea Foundation
  • The Muzzy Family
  • Santa Barbara Foundation
  • Santa Ynez Foundation
  • The Towbes Foundation
  • United Way of Santa Barbara County
  • Wood-Claeyssens Foundation